If you are new to Teacher’s Partner then there are a few things to keep in mind about planning using a database tool. First of all there may seem to be a lot of steps and rules about creating units and subtasks – cutting and pasting into a word processor is easier, more intuitive and in some cases faster. However rules and steps are necessary in order for you to be able to manage and organize all of the information. If all you need to do is create a subtask worksheet for students then you might be able to do it faster in a Word Processor than you can using Teacher’s Partner. But if you want to update your long range plans, create a class tracking sheet, track the expectations that were covered, then Teacher’s Partner will save you quite a bit of time. Furthermore, the plans you create will become the templates for entering Gradebook information and generating report card marks and comments.
Notes: Plan files have a unique *.pln extension. You can same a number of subtasks to a floppy disk, but the number is limited to the 1.4 meg size of a floppy.
Notes: Teachers can import both plans and marks for a unit. Files can be saved to and imported from any drive location.
During the import process you can import one subtask at a time, or you can choose to import all subtasks at once. If there are marks and unit details then click on the checkmark to import that data as well. You cannot import any subtask if you already have a subtask with the same name. To do so you must first either change the name of the new subtask, or delete the old subtask.
Notes: The ministry has paid to have a number of units created with the Planner. Many teachers have told us that they prefer to use Teacher’s Partner instead of the Planner because of simplicity and because of the marking and reporting features in Teacher’s Partner.
You must import one subtask at a time. After you import you can go to unit details. FileMaker Pro sometimes includes non standard line separators when it exports to text files. You may need to tidy up (delete unwanted punctuation) in a few of the text boxes after you import to make your printouts look correct.
Notes: Units are used to help organize and group your subtasks. Unit names for English, French, and Art programs are typically themes like “Adventure”, “Novel Study” or “Soccer”.
Unit names for other subjects such as Math and Science are often the name of the strands being covered such as “Measurement Term 1” or “Heat”.
When you create a unit you are asked to select a grade and subject, and you can only select one of each. This does not mean that you cannot create units for multiple grades or subjects. The selecting of a grade and subject is just for organizational purposes.
The month selection helps you organize your long range plans chronologically no matter what order you have entered the units.
The “Big Ideas” box optional part. Some boards like to refer to these as “Enduring Understandings”. Other boards simply them “Unit Overviews” or “Unit Descriptions”. Whatever they are called, this is where you summarize in as few words as possible what you expect students to gain from the unit.
Notes: Adding unit logos can make your printouts look a little more professional. Your students may find it easier to keep their notes organized if there are logos assigned to each unit.
The image that you select will appear on a number of printouts (e.g. subtask worksheets, long range plans). Try to select images that are simple in design.
Notes: Unit Details will allow you to enter more information about a unit. Some teachers will find this helpful in creating long range plans with more detailed information. There are boxes to enter information about Grade and Subject Information, Unit Length, Big Ideas, Teacher Reflections, Culminating Subtask, and Resources. It is a lot of work to fill in every one of these boxes so it is important to keep in mind that they are all optional. Whether you fill them in often depends on personal style and whether you need to share the unit with other educators. The boxes to enter the information are small, but by being small it is easier to see if all the boxes have been filled in. The default is to “View All” boxes. If you click on one “Big Ideas” button, the space for typing in Big Ideas increases and a spell check option appears.
You can also select all of the expectations that will be covered by this unit. Scroll down to the bottom of the form and uses the filters and drop down menus to find and select the expectations that will be addressed in the unit.
Notes: The more unit details is a opens a form that allows even more unit information to be recorded. You will be able to “Pre-assessment” information as well as assessment strategies. This form was design by a committee of consultants at the Near North District School Board.
Notes: If no unit is selected then the subtask is added under “No Theme”. Typically at the beginning of the year you enter all the units you plan on covering. Then as the year goes on you add subtask to those units as the units are covered. However, you don’t have to enter you units first. You can type in the name of a new unit in Subtask Writer 1 and it will be added to your list of units. Every subtask needs to have a unique name so don’t use a generic name like “project”. Instead name the subtask something more specific like “Adventure Project”.
If you select “Summative” as the assessment type the default weight of the skill categories to be assessed is 10. If formative is selected the weight is 1. If diagnostic is selected the weight is 0. If not assessed is selected then no skill categories appear under the “Assessed Skills and Knowledge” list.
The categories that are listed all the default ministry categories. For example in Math the 4 categories to choose from are “Problem Solving”, “Understanding Concepts”, “Applications”, and “Communication of Knowledge”. If you only plan on recording one mark for the subtask then select the category that the subtask addresses most. Some teachers like to assess according to their own defined categories (e.g. “Homework”, “Projects”, “Tests” etc.) After the subtask has been created you can change the categories assessed to one of these if you want.
Some teachers create a subtasks for every activity completed during the unit. Other teachers only create the subtasks that will be assessed.
Notes: If you check off “Expectations - One at a time with Text Preview” you can select and view the whole text for the expectation. If you click on the “Assess” button instead of the “Relate” button then you will be able to assign a mark towards that expectation. However, as it is impossible to assess every expectation for each student (there are just too many), most teacher assess only the skill categories, not the individual expectations. Some teachers choose to assess and track how students perform on some of the really important expectations (e.g. “organizes information into paragraphs”).
The number under the blue “P” column represents the number of times the expectation has been covered in other subtasks. The “A” column shows the number of times the expectation has been assessed. The “BS” column shows the number of students who were “Below Standard (under a level 3)” the last time the expectation was assessed.
Note: For subjects that are on page two of the report cards you are only required to give one mark for the entire subject – regardless of the strands that were covered. However, the subjects that are on page one of the report card (English, French, and Math) you are required to give a separate mark for each strand. For this reason it is important as you select categories to be assessed for English, French and Math, you note the strand that category is related to. For example, “Problem Solving Related to Measurement” effects only the Measurement report grade – not the other math strands.
The grade filter disappears when categories are being selected because the same categories apply to all grades. For large projects it is likely that all categories will be addressed but for small subtasks only one or two categories will probably be assessed.
Note: There are number of new features in Teacher’s Partner that relate to the use of categories. For example, it is now much easier to give a category an exact weight for determining report card marks. You can also now create category specific report rubrics (this a type of comment bank that has four different comments depending on the level of the student) .
The ministry and most boards suggest that assessment should be organized according to the skill categories such as “Knowledge”, “Problem Solving” and “Communication.” It is acceptable to say that “Knowledge” is worth 35% of the report mark, “Problem Solving” is worth 20% etc. Some teachers like to organize their assessments under categories such as “Homework”, “Projects” and “Tests”. Some view these different methods of organization as being incompatible with one another, but they don’t need to be. For example, a teacher may choose to assess “Knowledge” with tests, “Communication” with projects, and “Problem Solving” with homework. The reason for renaming the categories to Tests, Projects, and Homework is that it may make it easier for the students to identify the importance of a particular assessment.
Note: Although all of the assessed categories have a mark (weight) associated with them, teachers can use any marking system including letter grades and performance levels.
If you give a test that has 25 marks on it and you want to enter the record the mark out 25, then enter a weight of 25. If you decide that this weight too high or too low you can later change the weight and Teacher’s Partner will convert all the marks to match the new weights. For example, to make a skill that has a weight of 10 half as important, change the weight to 5. You can only link a rubric to categories/expectations that are going to be assessed.
Notes: Each rubric is linked directly to the category. You can use drop down arrows to find and select expectation text to be pasted into your rubric. The style for writing subtask rubrics is different than report rubrics. When writing report rubrics you include name substitutes (777) and pronouns like he and she. You do not use 777 or pronouns when writing subtask rubrics. There is a button in the rubric builder that allows you to view and paste previously written rubrics.
Notes: Entering information into these boxes is optional. This information can be pasted into your Daybook later.
You may need to experiment with different options to see how the printout format changes. You may notice that when you click on the subtask, certain boxes may get checked off or on. This is because the program looks to see which features you have used (i.e. rubrics, instructions, lesson overview) and then it automatically formats the page accordingly. You can override the automatic formatting by checking and un-checking boxes manually.
If you go to “Print Tracking Sheets” from “Subtask Writer 1” or “Subtask Writer 2” the program will select the same subtask that you were working on in the previous form. However the automatic formatting does not occur. Click on highlighted subtask to complete the automatic formatting.
Notes: Print out these tracking sheets to record marks. When all marks have been recording on your sheet you can transfer the data to the Gradebook in Teacher’s Partner.
Print Long Range Plans
Notes: When you click some buttons you may get a message requesting a parameter value (this is a bug). Just click on OK to continue. To print out Unit details you must go to the Unit Planner, click on Unit Details and then click on the print button.
Even if you decide not to use Day Book in Teacher’s Partner for every day use you may want to use it when a supply teacher is needed. It is easy to generate detailed day plans with all of the specific information about your routines. Once your schedule has been entered it will be automatically pasted into your Day Book when you select the day of the cycle for each day. You can edit your schedule at any time.
Notes: The program automatically skips over Saturday and Sunday, but it does not skip over holidays or PD days. When you reach a holiday or PD day you need to skip over it manually and then start the process of selecting the next regular school day all over again.
Notes: To move up one day at a time, click on the advance arrow. To select other dates, click on the calendar button and then double click on the desired date. Clicking on a Subtask shows the subtask details (you may need to scroll to right to see them).